Everything You Need to Know about Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Abuse - click on this link: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/faq1.html
The preference to not fail is trivial – but, why the propensity to not succeed?
Not succeeding assuages the fear of failure. After all, a one-time success calls for increasingly more unattainable repeat performances. Success just means that one has got more to lose, more ways to fail. Deliberately not succeeding also buttresses the narcissist’s sense of omnipotence: “I – and only I – choose to what extent and whether I succeed or fail.” Similarly, the narcissist grandiose conviction that he is perfect is supported by his self-inflicted lack of success. He tells himself: “I could have succeeded had I only chose to and applied myself to it. I am perfect, but I elect to not manifest my perfection via success.”
Indeed, as the philosopher Spinoza observed, perfect being have no wants or needs. They don’t have to try and prove anything. In an imperfect world, such as ours is, the mere continued existence of a perfect being constitutes its success. “I cannot fail as long as I merely survive” – is the perfect entity’s motto.
Many narcissistic defences, traits, and behaviours revolve around the compulsive need to sustain a grandiose self-image of perfection (“perfectionism”.) Paradoxically, deficient impulse control helps achieve this crucial goal. Impulsive actions and addictive behaviours render failure impossible as they suggest a lack of premeditation and planning.
(From the book "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited" by Sam Vaknin - Click on this link to purchase the print book, or 16 e-books, or 3 DVDs with 16 hours of video lectures on narcissists, psychopaths, and abuse in relationships: http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/thebook.html)